Mother convinced by voices in her head to drop her 18-month-old son to his death 

A delusional mother who threw her 18 month toddler out of a sixth floor window to sacrifice her son to Jesus Christ smoked up to 50 cannabis joints a day.

Gemma Procter, 23, suffered a ‘volcanic eruption’ of paranoid schizophrenia on the day she dropped Elliot from her bedroom window in Bradford.

The mother of two from West Yorkshire had a history of heavy drinking from the age of 16 and smoked cannabis daily and took amphetamines every other day, a court heard.

Gemma Procter – pictured – dropped her toddler from the sixth floor of a block of flats in Bradford because she thought God was telling her to sacrifice her son

In the weeks leading up to Elliot’s death Procter had undergone an abortion and she became convinced God was speaking to her and started to display bizarre psychotic symptoms and attending the local Abundant Life religious centre.

On 21 October last year, she was at her high rise home, in Newcastle House, Barkerend, with Elliot, her mother Deborah Ashington, her eight-month-old daughter and two other girls aged eleven and six.

Prosecutor Kama Melly QC told Bradford Crown Court that Procter had only smoked one joint that day, but after dancing around the flat in a red dress, which exposed her body, she told her mum she felt ‘free and at peace’.

Gemma Procter dropped her toddler from the sixth floor of this building due to voices in her head 

Gemma Procter dropped her toddler from the sixth floor of this building due to voices in her head 

Ms Melly said that whilst her mother was on the phone the six year old girl witnessed Procter carry naked Elliot into a bedroom and hold him out of the window. The girl pleaded with Proctor not to do it.

‘But then she saw that Gemma had thrown Elliot out of the window,’ said Ms Melly.

Procter told the screaming girl: ‘Elliot was happy because he had gone to God.’

Ms Melly added that Procter told the first police office who attended following a 999 call from Elliot’s grandmother: ‘She had sacrificed her son to Jesus Christ.’

Since the killing Procter has been assessed by a number of psychiatrists who concluded that paranoid schizophrenia had ‘exploded’ into her life shortly before the tragedy.

During a police interview following the tragedy, she said she felt compelled by the voices in her head to ‘sacrifice’ the boy, supposedly believing that God would save him.

Ms Melly QC told the court the defendant claimed she was visualising an ‘ongoing battle between God and the devil’ in the weeks leading up to Elliot’s death. 

Although Procter had admitted taking drugs in the past, including cannabis, doctors concluded that this did not significantly aggravate her condition or lead directly to the offence.

Simon Kealey QC, defending, said Procter had suffered a ‘sudden deterioration’ in her health which could not have been foreseen. 

The court heard how she had been treated for depression following Elliot’s birth,  which she had initially treated with anti-depressants, but was unaware of the severity of her illness. 

In interviews with doctors, the defendant said her health had gone downhill following the decision to terminate a pregnancy weeks prior to the toddler’s death. She also claimed she had witnessed religious experiences and heard the voice of God in her head.

Dr Sean Jacobs, who continues to treat Procter for the severe and enduring mental disorder told the court she will require the foreseeable future.

Procter pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her son due to diminished responsibility.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told Gemma Procter - pictured - that hers was a tragic case as he gave her an indefinite hospital order

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told Gemma Procter – pictured – that hers was a tragic case as he gave her an indefinite hospital order

Simon Kealey QC, in mitigation, said she had undergone a ‘profound change’ after the termination of her third child. Her condition was said to have deteriorated after she took the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

Proctor wept in the dock during the proceedings which were disrupted from members of her family in a packed public gallery, prompting The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC to threaten them with contempt if they continued.

Sentencing Procter to a hospital order, Judge Durham Hall told her paranoid schizophrenia had struck her like a volcanic eruption.

‘The primary victim is Elliot, but the second victim is you,’ he said. ‘No one had the remotest premonition you would do what you did.

‘I am absolutely satisfied that nobody, including yourself, had any concerns or pre-warning that you could or would do what you did.

‘Your offending, I am satisfied, was due to this extreme illness. The harm is off the scale, but the culpability is not.

‘Nobody thinks that you were ever a bad mother and you were never a bad mother to Elliot.’

In a statement which was read to court, the defendant’s mother said Procter had been a ‘brilliant mum’, adding: ‘I think she needs treatment. I love Gemma and want to make sure that she gets treatment.’ 

Senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Nicola Bryar said: ‘This was a deeply traumatic incident for everyone concerned and our thoughts remain with Elliot’s family.

‘We know that they will never come to terms with losing a child in such sad and awful circumstances, but we hope this outcome at court today will provide them with closure.’